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Lot 653: 1956 Oldsmobile �Rocket� Super Eighty-Eight Convertible

Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles, Bonhams (3 December 2007)

Having survived the economic turmoil of the early 1930s, Oldsmobile had established itself as purveyor of worthy, if unspectacular, transportation by the time America entered WW2. The company faced the post-war world with essentially 1942 models, but in 1948 came up with something that would dramatically change its image: the �Futuramic�-styled Ninety-Eight. When the new Rocket 88 overhead-valve V8 engine arrived the following year, the stage was set for a sales renaissance. Displacing 303.7ci (5.0 litres) the all-new powerplant went into the top-of-the-range Ninety-Eight and, in true American hot-rodding tradition, was combined with the Seventy-Six�s lightweight six-cylinder chassis to produce the legendary Eighty-Eight, one of the hottest performers of its day. The firm had introduced one of the first practical fully-automatic transmissions � the Hydra-Matic � back in 1940 which, combined with the new V8 engine, gave Oldsmobile a package that was the envy of its rivals. The middle-ranking Super Eighty-Eight was a new introduction for 1951, by which time the Rocket V8 engine was standard equipment in all Oldsmobiles.
By 1956, when the gorgeous Super Eighty-Eight convertible offered here was built, the Rocket engine displaced 324ci (5.3 litres) and produced 240bhp. This car was imported into the UK in 1989 and displayed a total of 65,000 miles on the odometer when purchased by the vendor in 2001, by which time it had had two owners in this country. Since acquisition, the Eighty-Eight has formed part of a private collection of American cars; almost completely original, it benefits from a new convertible hood and door trim panels, fitted approximately five years ago, and has covered only 500-or-so miles since a full engine rebuild carried out circa 2003. Finished in eye-catching Old English White and red with matching �juke box�-style interior, it comes equipped with the optional power steering, power brakes and electric hood. Well maintained and regularly serviced while in the vendor�s care, this wonderful example of 1950s Americana is offered with Swansea V5C, current road fund licence, fresh MoT and a substantial history/data file containing brochures, invoices, expired MoTs and a copy of Classic American magazine�s article featuring the car.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles
Bonhams, Olympia, London,
Lot Number653
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating0
Registration numberTSU 209
Chassis number568B6773
Engine number568B6773
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors